Bradford Pear Bounty Program


Description: highly-invasive medium-sized tree with stinky white flowers in spring & messy fruit in fall

Last seen: invading woodlands, pastures, roadsides & parks 

Aliases: Callery Pear, Cleveland Select, Chanticleer





voucher for pollinator-friendly native tree 

Receive a $30 voucher toward a pollinator-friendly native tree to replace each invasive Bradford pear tree you remove on your property. Reward limited to three $30 vouchers per property owner. (But NO limit on the number of Bradford pears you remove!)

Registration required. Additional details below. 

Thornwood Crossing area of Licking County | Photo by Alan Miller | 

Bradford pear may look like a beauty  

...but it's an ecological BEAST 

Bradford pears on edge of woods

Susan King, Licking County Pollinator Pathway


The Bradford pear (Pyrus calleryana), also known as the callery pear or the Cleveland select, is a deciduous spring-flowering tree that is native to China. It was brought to the U.S. in an attempt to hybridize them to encourage disease resistance. The tree was widely planted in suburban landscapes and thought to be sterile, but later crossed with other pear tree cultivars and escaped into wild areas, causing ecological harm. They are easily spotted along highways, as their white flowers are among the first to bloom in spring and their leaves are some of the last to change color and fall in the autumn. 

Bradford Pears have distinctive fruit clusters and shiny leaves.
Susan King, Licking County Pollinator Pathway

Closeup of Bradford Pear blooms

Bradford Pears are one of the first trees to bloom in spring.
T. Davis Sydnor, The Ohio State University,


The Bradford Pear is an extremely aggressive invasive tree that threatens Licking County's ecology. The tree’s early and dense leaf cover shades out other plants, displacing native plants and the pollinators and other wildlife that depend on them.  

Just as the invasive Kudzu vine has strangled large swaths of the southern U.S., the Bradford Pear has taken over field edges roadsides, meadows, and woodlots across central Ohio. 

Local park systems have used thousands of hours of volunteer labor and stretched already tight budgets to remove these and other invasive plants. 

As of January 1, 2023 it is illegal to sell, grow, or plant Bradford and Callery Pear in Ohio.  The law does not impact existing trees, however, which makes this "bounty" program critical to curbing their spread in Licking County. 



Invasive Bradford Pears in Licking County

 They're invasive

They're taking over natural areas and displacing native plants pollinators need.

Julie Strohmeyer, Licking County Pollinator Pathway

They're weak

 Bradford Pears are notoriously weak and break easily during storm events. 

They're stinky

Although the blooms are pretty, their scent is often compared to rotting fish. 

 They're annoying

 Wild Callery Pears can have thorns sharp enough to puncture tires.

They're illegal

 It is now illegal to plant invasive Bradford Pears in Ohio. Don't harbor a fugitive! 

There's a REWARD!

Get a voucher for a pollinator-friendly native tree to replace your Bradford pear!  

Vouchers redeemable at select nurseries: Albyn's and Leaves for Wildlife.

Receive up to three $30 vouchers toward pollinator-friendly replacement tree(s) as reward for removing invasive Bradford Pears on your property.



WOSU Public Media: In Licking County, there's a 'bounty' on invasive pear trees

Bradford Pear invasion

The Reporting Project: Program to replace invasive Bradford pears with native trees

NBC4: Licking County organization puts a 'bounty' on Bradford pear trees


County Commissioner Tim Bubb creates educational video on invasive pear trees 



Donate to support the removal of invasive pear trees in public places & replace them with large native trees across Licking County via 1500 Trees  


Is the bounty reward still available? 

Yes! While the tree pickup event has concluded, we have $30 vouchers available as a reward for each Bradford pear tree removed (up to 3 vouchers per property owner).  Registration required.  Voucher(s) will be sent by mail. 

How should I remove a Bradford or Callery Pear tree on my property?

The property owner is responsible for tree removal. You may choose to remove it yourself or hire a professional. Find a certified arborist here and/or take advantage of discounts offered by local tree companies (read more below). 

Note: Control of invasive trees is easier when they are small. 

Do not mow seedlings or small trees, however, as single stem trees will branch out and re-emerge as multiple stem trees. 

Cut stumps should be treated with an herbicide to ensure that the stumps don't re-sprout. Always use personal protective equipment. 

Learn more about Bradford & Callery pear control methods, including basal bark and girdling techniques, which are less labor intensive.  

Is Bradford pear the only invasive pear tree cultivar eligible for the bounty reward? 

ALL cultivars and the offspring escapees of Pyrus calleryana​ are eligible for the bounty. Please remove all that you can! 

How can I confirm if a tree on my property is a Bradford pear tree? 

Learn how to ID Bradford pears here. We also recommend using apps such as iNaturalist, PictureThis or Google Lens to ID your trees. 

Can I get a free tree for callery pears I cut down along the road?

No. Please cut down invasive pear trees only on property you own.  There may be opportunities to help remove invasive pears in parks and other public areas later this year. 

What about Bradford pears in the tree lawn?

Trees planted in the tree lawn (the space between the sidewalk and the street) are typically maintained by your local municipality or homeowners association. Contact your city, village or homeowners association to confirm and ask about their process for removing the invasive Bradford pear in the tree lawn and replacing it with a native Ohio tree. Do not cut trees in the tree lawn unless you have written authorization from your municipality or homeowners association. 

Is the program only for individual homeowners or can businesses participate?

The program is open to any property owner in Licking County, including homeowners, churches, businesses, local governments and other organizations. 

What type of trees are you offering as a reward for the bounty? 

In Spring 2024, we offered a variety of small native tree species as rewards for participation in the "bounty" program, including flowering dogwood (Cornus floridus), bur oak ( Quercus macrocarpa), and Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis).  

What are recommended native trees to replace Bradford pears?

Native trees with similar growth habits that would make good replacements include: 

How can I support the removal of invasive Bradford pear trees in our community? 

You can "sponsor" the removal of an invasive pear tree in the community via 1500 Trees, a local nonprofit and Pollinator Pathway partner organization. Your donation will support the removal of Bradford pears in public spaces across Licking County and the planting of large, pollinator-friendly native trees. Learn how to help.  

Can I post the Bradford Pear Bounty "Wanted" poster in my neighborhood? 

Yes! You may print your own posters and handouts. Sizes include: 

Please post only in areas where community event flyers are permitted. Thanks for spreading the word!

How big are the trees you are offering as a reward

NOTE: The Spring 2024 free tree reward has concluded (however vouchers for local nurseries are still available). We offered a variety of tree sizes as bounty rewards including trees in 3-gallon pots, multiple native tree saplings. Smaller trees transplant well (less stress on the tree) and are manageable for people to lift, take home in their vehicles, dig the right size of hole for, and plant

Do I need to bring in the Bradford tree I remove from my property to get my tree reward May 11?

No, you do not need to bring us your pear tree. We do ask that you bring a photo of the Bradford pear(s) that you cut down on your property when you pick up your free pollinator-friendly replacement tree. 

By cutting down Bradford pears, won’t we deprive generalist pollinators of an important food source? 

Bradford pears do provide flowers for generalist bees early in the spring. Non-native honey bees can be seen visiting the flowers in abundance, though there is some debate among honey bee keepers as to whether this species is preferred by honey bees or not. However, native bees often prefer native plant species to forage from. Take stock of what your property offers native bees in early spring and consider planting more spring-flowering native trees, shrubs and flowers.  For example, dogwood, willow, serviceberry, native hawthorn, and redbud all provide abundant flowers in spring and the added benefit of catering to not only generalist bees like bumble bees, but also some diet-specialist native bees. 

Shouldn't we be saving trees to help with carbon sequestration to combat climate change? What's the ecological benefit of replacing invasives?

Large trees accelerate their carbon absorption as they grow and contribute more to combating carbon dioxide related climate change. Keeping invasive Bradford Pear trees on your property, however, is not a good strategy to improve carbon sequestration. Invasive Bradford pear trees disrupt the native ecosystems by inhibiting regeneration of native forest species. This invasive species is prone to damage and early death, as well, which will limit its carbon sequestration abilities. Carbon sequestration goals will be better served by promoting native tree species and the healthy native ecosystem that will contribute to their longevity.

Replacing mature invasive trees with native saplings is a good investment in future sustainability of ecosystems, though it may not result in immediate ecological benefits. It will take some time before they start providing prolific flowers, fruits, or carbon absorption. There are some short-term returns on the investment in native saplings, however. Even as small trees, native saplings provide leaves that support larvae of butterfly pollinators and refuges for adult butterflies. They can stabilize soils and increase habitat heterogeneity that helps myriad insects find food and shelter. Where native saplings replace invasive species, they begin to stimulate native species at other trophic levels, such as microbes and insects, which in turn can support other native biodiversity. Ecosystem benefits of fostering native trees will increase as they grow and contribute to the development of native biodiversity.



The following local companies have offered discounts to property owners participating in the Bradford Pear Bounty program. Mention the code BOUNTY when contacting them to get the discount: 

Get a 20% discount on Bradford pear tree removal from: 

Tim's Total Tree Service: 740-644-2929
Urban Loggers: 913-449-9566 

Save $50 on Bradford pear tree removal from: 

Basic Tree Care: 740-349-5796

Save 10% on stump removal from:

Tim's Total Tree Service: 740-644-2929

Free chipping & disposal:
Hope Timber: offers chipping & disposal if you remove the tree yourself and take it to their location at 2135 West Main Street, Newark. Tell them it is a Bradford pear, and they will dispose of it for free!


Ornamental pear trees banned in Ohio: What you need to know Columbus Dispatch article

Callery Pear: A Beautiful Tree That is Causing a Stink from the Ohio State University Extension

The Rise & Fall of the Ornamental Callery Pear Tree from the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University

Bradford, Callery & Other Ornamental Pears factsheet from Blue Ridge Partnership for Invasive Species Management

Escape from the Garden: How Callery Pear Has Moved into Our Natural Areas & What We Can Do About It YouTube Video by Theresa Culley, University of Cincinnati

Licking Land Trust | The Dawes Arboretum  | Licking Park District | Denison | The Ohio State University Newark |  City of Newark | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program | Granville Public Library | Sanctuary Garden at Newark High School | Licking Soil & Water Conservation District | Granville Schools Sustainability Project | Ace of Clubs 4-H | Otterbein Granville | 1500 Trees | Grange Insurance Audubon Center | Licking County Master Gardener Volunteers | Wild Ones Columbus | Licking County Community Center for 60+ Adults, Inc.

with funding from:
Denison Venture Philanthropy Fund
in-kind support from:
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program | Leaves for Wildlife | Licking County Soil & Water Conservation District | Dawes Arboretum | 1500 Trees 


Bradford Pear Bounty Press release